Can You Still Recognize The You You Might Have Been?

Admit it. You aren’t exactly what you planned to be…you’re not really who you thought you would become….but you try, and the trying is called life.

Once we grew out of the I-wanna-be-a-nurse-or-an-atronaut phase, you and I did have some fairly serious aspirations. Clinical psychologist…social worker…office manager….maybe PTA president.

But those things didn’t happen. As the man said: “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans!” Intensifying this reality is the fact we no longer live in an age rooted in traditional systems of belief. Our religion, our careers, our marital and parental status were at one time part of the scaffolding of our culture in which our biggest task was to best fit in.

As repressive as that sounds to a 21st C ear, it did offer a sense of structure. These days, the structure — the scaffolding — is largely absent. To some this is freeing; to others confusing. Still, it is what it is. And so it is that many of us [far too many of us] seek our scaffolding and satisfaction in what author Adam Phillips calls, “A perpetual present of consumer capitalism in which ‘knowing ourselves’ simply means knowing what we want to have.”

If that’s pop psychology, good for pop psychology. Because any evening reading a newspaper or watching television commercials makes it awfully hard to disagree with Phillips. But you can read him yourself in his recent: “Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life.” He says he always wanted to be a writer. What did you always want to be…?

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